We arrive in the morning at the Animal Quarantine Center in Nakhon Phanom, north-east Thailand, just a few kilometers away from mountains which outline the border with Laos. The summer heat is already beating down hard and it's only 9 a.m.
But it's not humidity that hits me as I climb out of the 4WD, rather the overwhelming smell of dog urine and feces.
According to a recent U.N. report, insects could be a solution to some of the world's food and health problems. They're nutritious, eco-friendly and abundant. Many countries already consider them a staple part of their diets.
So if we're all to start consuming locusts and scorpions, we can start in Southeast Asia for guidance.
I ate bugs for lunch. This time it was on purpose.
By some experts' estimates, the average person inadvertently downs about one pound of insect parts a year, in foods as varied as chocolate (which can contain 60 insect components per 100 grams by law in the United States), peanut butter (30 insect parts per 100 grams) and fruit juice (up to five fruitfly eggs and one to two larvae for every 250 milliliters).
In light of the United Nations' recent plea for increased insect consumption, I decided to take the insects by the antennae and join the 2 billion people worldwide who deliberately make creepy, crawly creatures a part of their regular or special occasion diet.
Nicola Ruotolo is an intern in CNN's Rome bureau
Insects are the ideal food of the future, according to a new United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report.
In "Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security," presented at a news conference in Rome on Monday, the group's etnomophagy experts shared compelling evidence suggesting that increased intake of insects would promote health, wealth and a cleaner environment for both rural and urban communities around the globe.
Consumption of insects like locusts, crickets or larvae is very common in parts of Asia, South America, Mexico and Africa, due in large part to their high nutritional value. Insects beat out both meat and fish in protein content and quality, and they're also rich in fiber and healthy micronutrients including copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
Insects adapt so quickly to climate change, that there would be few barriers to gathering from the wild or farming at any altitude or latitude around the planet - making them a cheap and eco-friendly food source. They also have a very low risk of transmitting disease to humans, unlike farmed beef, pork and poultry.
UPDATE: Taco Fusion briefly pulled the controversial item from its menu, but has since reversed that decision, telling Tampa's FOX 13:
The company has posted a message on its website that reads in part:
(WFTS) A small south Tampa restaurant is causing quite a stir over a unique item offered on their menu: lion.
For $35 dollars taco lovers can try lion, as in, the king of the jungle.
"I thought the lion was good," said patron Lee Weiner. "It didn't taste too gamey to me, similar to steak."
Police in China have spent three months seizing bogus meat, some of it fake beef or mutton made out of fox, mink and rat.
They snatched up around 20,000 tons of illegal products, according to state news agency Xinhua.
In 382 cases, officials arrested 904 suspects for passing off counterfeit meat, meat injected with water or diseased flesh to consumers, the news agency said.
The winter of 1609 to 1610 was treacherous for early American settlers. Some 240 of the 300 colonists at Jamestown, in Virginia, died during this period, called the "Starving Time," when they were under siege and had no way to get food.
Desperate times led to desperate measures. New evidence suggests that includes eating the flesh of fellow colonists who had already died.
Archaeologists revealed Wednesday their analysis of 17th century skeletal remains suggesting that settlers practiced cannibalism to survive.
Is the United States closer to allowing horse meat production? On Friday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed the Oklahoma Meat Inspection Act, ending the prohibition on horse meat processing for export in Oklahoma. House Bill 1999, sponsored by state legislators Rep. Skye McNeil and Sen. Eddie Fields, passed 82-14 in the House and 32-14 in the Senate.
While the sale of horse meat for human consumption would still be off the table in Oklahoma, on November 1, 2013, the state will join the 46 others that allow equine slaughter. However, no states have processed horse meat since federal action in 2007, and bills pending in Congress would prohibit horse slaughter.
Advocates for the Oklahoma legislation said it's in the best interest of animals that would otherwise be abused, neglected, starved or sent to Canada and Mexico to meet a painful end in an unregulated plant.
Dying to try lion? If you live in Illinois, you'd better get your fix quickly before proposed legislation would make the "mane" course a Class A misdemeanor.
Illinois State Representative Luis Arroyo proposed HB 2991 to the state's General Assembly last month. If the Lion Meat Act passes, Illinois will become the first U.S. state to forbid lion slaughter, or for any person to possess, breed, import, export, buy or sell lions for the purpose of slaughter - making it illegal to serve or sell lion meat at restaurant, hotel or other commercial establishment. Offenders would face a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 if convicted.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, lions are not currently protected as an endangered cat in the U.S., and there are no laws prohibiting its sale. It also falls outside the USDA's inspection parameters and under those of the Food and Drug Administration, which categorizes lion as a "game meat."
Still, the king of the jungle doesn't exactly abound on American menus, so why is Arroyo mounting an attack?